TRADERS situated on the edge of a town centre have claimed they’ve been “forgotten” over the lack of Christmas lighting.

Business owners in Market Place in Stevenage town centre are unhappy that they are not getting the same treatment as others in the area, although the borough council has said installing lights would interfere with CCTV cameras.

“It’s not very Christmassy down here at all,” said David Pascoe, owner of JJ’s Formal Hire.

“We’ve got decorations in our window and a tree but there’s only so much you can do. I understand Queensway is going to have more decorations because it’s the main walkway through but the shops down the side like ours get forgotten.

“People coming into the shop for the first time say they didn’t even know we’re here.”

Terry Cox said he is one of six business owners to set up in Market Place since he opened his fish and chip shop Cox’s in April, but the area is not being supported.

He said: “The area needs promoting – why shouldn’t we get Christmas decorations? People looking down here from the top will just say ‘we won’t go down there, it’s dark’. But that’s just for starters, we need to promote the small independents as there’s a good selection here but people aren’t going to come unless the place is looked after.”

Jo Assiotes, managing director of Floral Creations, opened her business in Market Place four weeks ago.

She said: “I advertise but no one seems to know what shops are now down here - I never used to walk down this bit until starting my business.

“It’s a community which has lots of independents but no one knows that, and if there was something to attract people down here like Christmas lights that would help.”

This year’s Christmas lights switch on took place on November 22 and a spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council, which put up the lights, said: “Market Place previously had Christmas lights but these had to be removed several years ago as they were obstructing the CCTV cameras.

“We have not received any reports of problems from businesses in Market Place but we are happy to listen to their concerns and work together to make improvements wherever possible.

“The council is committed to supporting local businesses in the town and we are working with local retailers and the Town Centre Management Company on a number of initiatives. Most recently, we have offered free car parking for late night shopping over the festive period to support the retailers’ extended opening hours.”